Durbin Speaks With Lithuanian Prime Minister
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Co-Chair of the Senate Baltic Freedom Caucus, today met with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyt? to discuss persistent threats against Eastern Europe as Russia continues its brutal war against Ukraine. In their meeting, they also discussed Lithuania’s leadership in the region and neighboring Belarussian dictator Alexander Lukashenko’s support for Putin’s war.
Durbin also offered support to Lithuania as the nation faces economic bullying from the Chinese government for improved diplomatic ties with Taiwan and emphasized the need to maintain a strong NATO alliance.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyt? today and receive an update from the country my mother once called home,” said Durbin. “Three decades after breaking free from the USSR, Lithuania is boldly standing up to pressure from Russia. As Russian threats continue to loom large over Eastern Europe, the U.S. will continue to be a loyal ally to Lithuania and its Baltic neighbors as the nations work to uphold democratic values.”
Photos of the meeting are available here.
In June, Durbin met with Speaker ?milyt?-Nielsen in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he received the Aleksandras Stulginskis Star Award—only the second individual and first American to receive this award. The new award honors Aleksandras Stulginskis, former President of Lithuania who served from 1920-1926 and was a strong advocate for a democratic republic. It was granted to Durbin for his decades-long support of Lithuanian independence and democracy and his promotion of parliamentary values. In February, Durbin visited with U.S. servicemembers at the NATO base in Pabrade, Lithuania. In May, he and Grassley introduced the Baltic Defense and Deterrence Act, legislation to effectively codify the Baltic Security Initiative and create a complementary initiative at the U.S. Department of State. Durbin’s mother was born in Lithuania and came to the United States with her mother and siblings in 1911.
Durbin is a cosponsor of the Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act of 2022, which would deepen economic and security ties with the Baltics while imposing crippling economic sanctions on Russia if it further invades Ukraine. Durbin also secured a minimum, first-time $150 million authorization in the FY22 NDAA in support of the Baltic Security Initiative.
Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyt? assumed office on November 25, 2020, becoming the second woman in the nation’s history to serve in the position. She has served in the Seimas since 2016. Before her time in Parliament, she served in various economic posts in government including the Minister of Finance, the Undersecretary of Finance and the Director of the Tax Department. She is an economist and earned her Master’s degree in Economics and her Bachelor degree in business administration and management from the Faculty of Economics at Vilnius University.
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